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Former Albanian Rebel Leader Nominated As New Kosovo Premier

An ethnic-Albanian woman in Prishtina passes graffiti reading, "No negotiations - self determination" (file photo) (epa) 1 March 2006 -- A former Kosovar guerilla commander, Agim Ceku, was chosen as his party's candidate for prime minister after Bajram Kosumi unexpectedly resigned --> today

The Alliance for the Future of Kosovo, or AAK, said Ceku was its choice because he "has shown his leadership qualities during the most difficult time" in Kosovo.

No other candidates have been nominated.

Kosumi announced his resignation earlier today, a little more than one week after key talks opened on the future status of the UN-run Serbian territory.

Ceku, 45, was a senior member of the ethnic-Albanian rebel army that waged a guerrilla war against Serbian forces in 1998-99.

(Reuters, AFP, AP)

Spotlight On Kosovo

Spotlight On Kosovo

THE WORLD'S NEWEST NATION? The region of Kosovo has a population of more than 2 million, some 90 percent of whom are ethnic Albanians. It was one of the poorest regions in the former Yugoslavia, but has considerable mineral wealth and an enterprising population, many of whom work abroad but keep close contact with Kosovo. All ethnic Albanian political parties seek independence on the principles of self-determination and majority rule. They feel that Serbia lost its historically based claim to what was its autonomous province under the 1974 constitution by revoking that autonomy in the late 1980s and then conducting a crackdown in 1999 that forced some 850,000 people to flee their homes.

Since NATO's intervention that year to stop the expulsions, Kosovo has been under a UN administration (UNMIK). The UN has begun to gradually transfer functions to elected Kosovar institutions. The primary Serbian concerns are physical safety for the local Serbian minority, a secure return for the tens of thousands of Serbian displaced persons, and protection for historic Serbian religious buildings. The main problems affecting all Kosovars, however, are economic. Until Kosovo's final status is clarified and new legislation passed and enforced, it will not be able to attract the investment it needs to provide jobs for its population, which is one of the youngest and fastest growing in Europe. Prosperity is widely seen as the key to political stability and interethnic coexistence in Kosovo, as is the case in much of Southeastern Europe.

For an archive of RFE/RL's coverage of developments in the disputed region of KOSOVO, click here.